Happy Birthday, Francis Rogallo!

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Francis Rogallo, the NASA aeronautical engineer widely known as the father of modern hang gliding, was born on January 27th, 1912. He eventually celebrated 97 birthdays, but one in particular stands out, in 1974. Just a few years after his retirement from NASA, hang gliding as a sport was truly taking off, and Rog, as he was known to nearly everyone, was invited for his birthday to what was supposed to be the “First Annual Rogallo Meet” at Escape Country, a premier hang gliding site near Trabuco Canyon, Ca.

Despite careful planning by organizer Kas de Lisse, the meet was a bit of a wash. Fog descended onto the mountain, and the ‘Fogallo’ meet was punctuated only by a few intrepid airmen making occasional flights into the mist, (“onward through the fog!”), guided to the landing area by shouts and amplified music. And the tales of the mud that weekend were reminiscent of Woodstock.

What was truly noteworthy was simply Rog’s presence. Most of the pilots knew his name, but his face was anonymous enough that he could wander through the assembled gliders unrecognized, many of which were varieties of what were known simply as “Rogallo Wings.”

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Maralys Wills, matriarch of the famous hang gliding Wills Wing family, described him beautifully in a piece she wrote for Groundskimmer Magazine:

 

“He was the tall man wearing the Russian Cossack hat; at close range, with his head cocked slightly in an attitude of listening, his eyes sparkling and an almost impish smile on his lips, he gave the impression of a tall leprechaun. One could see him throughout the day, observing with wonder the fruits of his earlier imagination. Francis Rogallo, whose birthday the meet was honoring, seemed almost removed from the arena of kiting. It was as if he had turned the switch, and then the machine had gone off and done its own thing.”

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Rog saw an incredible variety of designs at that meet, most of which were based on the flexible wing he and his wife Gertrude invented in 1948. After all the years of trying to get recognition for the possibilities of their invention, the tall, leprechaun-like man must have felt an almost disconnected sense of wonder at what had become of his idea. The machine had gone off and done its own thing, and people all over the world were learning to fly with simple, inexpensive wings–what he had always hoped would happen. He knew what was possible as early as 1949, when he wrote in an article for The Ford Times, “Imagine the thrill of carrying such a glider in your knapsack to the top of a hill or mountain, and then unfurling it and gliding down into the valley below.”

 

Happy Birthday Rog, and thanks for letting us all “imagine the thrill.”

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Written By Billy Vaughn, Francis Rogallo Historian

If you are interested in making a donation to The Rogallo Foundation, which supports educational opportunities involving aerodonetics and low-speed aerodynamics, you can click here!

2017 Outer Banks Watermelon Festival!

The stage was set, a long table donning a bright red vinyl cover, the contestants patiently waiting for the start. Fans circled around the table, each supporting their contestant or just watching for the show. As the watermelon eating contest took off, so did the chunky spray of watermelon as participants shoved their faces into the fruit as quickly and ferociously as they could. The eating contest was just one of many opportunities people had to gorge themselves as the food came in many forms: watermelon, ice cream, Mulligan’s fish tacos. But, the fun came in even more forms. There were events running seamlessly throughout the day including the ice cream eating contest, the seed spitting contest, and everyone’s favorite…. the watermelon eating contest. Thanks to the planning of our very own events crew, and a day-of help from many volunteers, there were activities for all to enjoy regardless of their interests. Many ki

 

ds tried their hands at a plethora of lawn games and toys, some even took the opportunity to turn their own hands to wax with the ever popular “Wax Hands” station. However, the favorite of the day seemed to be the Pirate inflatable that offered not only a large bounce house, but a waterslide to cool off afterwards. “Food and Fun” was the motto of the day, but the 11th Annual Outer Banks Watermelon Festival had a lot more to it than that. The entire festival was run to support the Outer Banks Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Coalition, a group with a positive mission, “To help facilitate the education and awareness of practical bicycle and pedestrian safety to drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and all those who live or visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina in a positive and proactive manner.” Unfortunately, too many people are injured or killed every year on the Outer Banks trying to cross the highways on bicycles or on foot. For Kitty Hawk Kites, this was an issue that everyone could get behind. Following the Watermelon Festival, when all the money was tallied up, there was $4723 raised! But, the awareness raised can’t be

 

measured. Getting people to recognize the issue at hand and respect the rules of the road can have a lasting effect on the community. If everyone does their part to pay attention and respect the safety of others, hopefully the issue can be eaten away as if it were just a piece of watermelon.

Holiday Update from the KHK Crew

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Celebrate the start of the holiday season with Kitty Hawk Kites at the annual Hangin’ with Santa and Kites with Lights holiday weekend events on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26.

Share your Christmas wishes and get your FREE picture taken with Santa at the Kitty Hawk Kites store at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing in Nags Head on November 25 (10am–2pm) and November 26 (1pm–4pm).

Plus, be sure to make it out to Jockey’s Ridge State Park on November 26 (4pm–6pm) for a light display like none other! Kites with Lights will feature large kites decked out in the spirit of the holidays atop the dunes. In addition, witness the annual Jockey’s Ridge State Park Tree Lighting with The Friends of Jockey’s Ridge that evening at 5pm. Keep warm with cookies and cider for sale at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing, with all proceeds from the bake sale benefitting Beach Food Pantry.

Kitty Hawk Kites in Nags Head and Kitty Hawk Kites in Hatteras will also serve as a local Toys for Tots collection center! Please consider picking up a toy for a child in need while you shop this holiday season. This collection will run from November 20 through December 20. Speaking of shopping, don’t miss out on the annual Thanksgiving Week Super Sale, featuring 20 to 40 percent savings* at all Outer Banks Kitty Hawk Kites, Kitty Hawk Surf Co., and Life is Good locations.

Kayak Fishing, Growing Larger Than a Fisherman’s Tale

http://www.kittyhawk.com/adventures/hobie-kayak-charter-fishing-tour/

Kayak fishing is quickly becoming one of the most popular water sports around. The blend of affordability, versatility, and an improved perspective of fishing have driven the sport far beyond what anyone expected. With the 4th Annual Outer Banks Kayak Fishing Tournament on Saturday, we wanted to take a moment to tell everyone exactly what this sport is all about.

 

 

http://www.kittyhawk.com/adventures/hobie-kayak-charter-fishing-tour/What is so great about “kayak fishing”?

For starters, kayaks are a much more affordable vessel to traverse the water on. You can get yourself into a quality kayak for less money than it would cost to purchase the trailer for a larger boat. Not only do they cost less, but they are incredibly versatile. You can use a kayak in any body of water, whether it is a river, a pond, the bay, or even the ocean. The ability to use kayaks in many bodies of water means you can use it more frequently and easier than with a larger boat. The constant question of “how can I get my boat in to fish that spot?” is no longer a problem. The variety of fishing locations means a variety of fish as well. In our Hobie Charter Fishing Tours alone, we have already had customers catch Drum, Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel, Blue Fish, Flounder, Trout and much more! You can fish in northern lakes for Muskie, Pike, and Walleye or head to the bay for Drum, Speckled Trout and Flounder. Once on the water, the real fun begins. You get the rush of being right in the water, low to the surface similar to wading, but with the kayak, in a dry and stable platform that gives you a steady spot to reel in your catch.

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What makes the Outer Banks such a great spot for kayak fishing?

Similar to the sport itself, the Outer Banks provide a broad array of fishing styles. The area boasts surf fishing just off the shores, deep sea fishing, sound-side fishing, even fishing back into tributaries like the Alligator River. With such a wide variety, there’s no better way to hit all of them than in a kayak. Pick up some smaller fish back in the rivers and streams; maybe stay near the beaches and reel in some False Albacore, Spanish Mackerel, Blues and Croaker. Or venture further out and go after some deep sea Drum or Mahi. The wild life here is incredible, and the sights you’ll have while out on the water are unmatched. From sunrises in the ocean, to sunsets on the sound, you simply can’t beat the views.